Supporters of ethanol dispute an Associated Press investigation that casts doubt on the effectiveness of the alternative fuel.
Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Todd Sneller dismisses suggestions in the report that the push for corn-based ethanol falls short of clean energy expectations and appears to be causing more environmental damage than promised.
“These are timed to come out at a point when the debate is raging in Washington, D. C. about the renewable fuel standard and whether or not we’re going to have a domestic policy that allows us to continue to produce and use renewable fuels or if we’re going to lapse into the oil mandate that we’ve had for the past 100 years in this country,” Sneller tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.
The AP report claims the push to produce corn-based ethanol has fallen short of its clean-energy expectations. It suggests ethanol production has caused harm to the environment by taking land out of conservation and putting it into production. The report also claims fertilizer use has polluted water supplies.
Sneller says the report gives a distorted picture of the energy industry.
“And I think it’s taken out of context in that if we took a look at some of those same practices as employed by the petroleum industry, we would see many of the same sort of pollution related issues that would quickly be brought up, the land-use issues that would quickly be brought up, the impacts on the environment and public health.”
Sneller questions the timing of the report, noting that the story has come out as Congress weighs whether to keep a requirement that oil companies blend ethanol into their gasolines.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.